Closure of accounts for Palestinian support groups
Over recent weeks we have been contacted by supporters complaining that organisations working to support Palestinians are having their accounts closed by the Co-op Bank. We took this up with the bank as details continued to emerge.
On 24 November 2015 the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) launched a legal case against the bank for closing its account, along with those of 20 local organisations. The PSC is also asking people to close their Co-op Bank accounts in protest.
Bank claims legal and 'due dilegence' reasons
We took this up with the bank. In a detailed statement to the Save Our Bank campaign, the bank says the cause was ‘due diligence’ on money transfers to high risk locations. We believe this leaves many questions unanswered, for example:
- If the PSC did not have sufficient controls in place, what should groups wanting to support Palestinians do to ensure they meet the Co-op Bank’s standards?
- Given the urgent humanitarian needs in the Palestinian territories, we believe that the Co-op Bank needs to do more to assist legitimate charities to make transfers - treat it as an opportunity to help customers, not as a risk to be minimised.
Save Our Bank has written an open letter calling on the bank to remember its proud tradition of supporting human right campaigners and to cease any closure of accounts of organisations working to support Palestine.
We don’t agree with the PSC that we should all close our accounts – we explain why here.
We do want the bank to change its position on this. We think they have made a mistake. it is at times like this that a union of customers can have an impact.
Should we create a 38 Degrees petition?
As well as our open letter to the bank, we are considering setting up a petition with 38 Degrees to reach beyond Save Our Bank supporters, to ask the bank to reverse its decision and do more to support groups that want to send money to Palestine. We’ll only do this if our supporters think it’s a good idea. Please let us know if you would like us to go ahead with this by voting here.